During the 1920s and 1930s Shanghai became known as “The Paris of the East, the New York of the West”.Shanghai was made a special city in 1927. From 1930 the city’s industrial and financial power mushroomed. Transitioning from the old Shanghai which is almost non existent now, initial architectural style was modeled on British and American design.
This is what the modern day Shanghai skyline looks like :
I visited Shanghai in 2010 shortly after the end of their 2010 Expo and the picture below is among the first that I took.
I stayed at the beautiful Pudong Shangri-la Hotel. As a Business Tourist, it’s great to have a comfortable stay as depicted in the great room I had – well set up both for comfort, relaxation and working.
The view from my window looked out on the Yangtze river and everyday was a reminder that I was at the centre of an economic hub and “high” density living.Here are some views from my room:
Of course it was great that there was a shopping mall just across the road from the hotel and yes, I spent much of my available time there. Shanghai carries all the famous international brands (many being manufactured here) but I also found brands that I was unfamiliar with and to this day, some of these remain my most prized possessions.
One of my favourite purchases was a beautiful Chinese tea set. This started a whole new practice of collecting a range of fragrant herbal teas some of which open up as flowers. I have found a that it is an almost spiritual experience to sip tea brewed in pretty cast iron tea pots and I have select friends that understand that spiritual experience of enjoying good conversation while inhaling the fragrance and sipping from those beautiful little cups of tea.
I am in fact reminded of this quote:
Shanghai has no shortage of really tall buildings each competing to be taller than the other:
I was lucky enough to attend a special dinner on the 89th floor of the building below. We were served a 20 course meal ( small portions of delicacies though I had no idea what I was eating) There was a floor above us where a party was in full swing and of course I found my way there (by accident haha!)
I recall as we left the building late that night ( a Thursday night) – watching disco lights flashing from the top floor of another dizzingly tall building and wondering how those people managed to party so late on a weekday.
On a walk to the Yangtze river on a Saturday afternoon, I remember watching an old lady painstakingly sweeping up dirt off the streets and the picture above illustrates how clean the city is despite the density. One drawback of such density and economic activity is the pollution. It took a number of days for me to get clearer pictures. Still I enjoyed my stay and would happily return.
Thank you for reading and join me in Hong Kong next week.